Poured Out

“Give, and you will receive. Your gift will return to you in full—pressed down, shaken together to make room for more, running over, and poured into your lap. The amount you give will determine the amount you get back.” Luke 6:38 NLT
 
The other day at church, Pastor Doug noted the similarities between a person who’s just survived a zombie apocalypse with a person who has a new baby at home. If you are a parent, then you understand the humor. He went on to talk about how our kids demand everything: our time, our money, our energy, etc…
 
Now fast forward a few days, and I was on my hands and knees scrubbing chalk-paint out of my favorite Target rug because my daughter opened her new birthday present inside without asking. I wasn't even sure how to discipline her as I was experiencing such mixed emotions. Talk about what a humbling journey raising little ones is.
 
I see our walk with God so similarly. Have you ever seen the graphic that displays a life with God where the little stick figure appears to be on a rollercoaster ride, going up and down, and up and down? Peaks and valleys, friends. He never ever said it would be easy, but worth it? Yes!
 
In the same way of giving all of ourselves and pouring out everything we have for our kids, we should be living for God. Take up your cross and follow me, He instructs us. Die to yourself. Serve others. Be gracious. Be patient. As a mom of little ones, I feel that my children are the best teachers of this concept. I pour myself out, I'm challenged, and I'm strained. At times, all I can do is cry out to God because I’m empty.
 
But there are also those times…you know, the ones that nothing in the world measures up to. The times your child is hurt and hugging you so tight, you can almost taste their salty tears or the quiet evenings you're snuggled up together with a book, or the moment you see your child following through with something you've taught them.
 
Raising children is difficult. Following God is challenging. Both require sacrifice. Both empty us of ourselves. And both fill us up in ways nothing else can.

What if we give, and give, and give to God like we do our children? How fulfilling would that be?

Audrey Scott

I Will Not Be Shaken

I keep my eyes always on the Lord. With Him at my right hand, I will not be shaken. Psalm 16:8

I remember the moment. I was sitting with friends on a Sunday evening and they were asking about some recent health issues I had been dealing with, issues I referred to as “my battle." I shared how I had been feeling and how I was managing the symptoms, which had been better the last few days. I even remarked that I almost felt like I was getting better.

Famous. Last. Words.

The next few weeks were some of the worst yet. There were several days when it felt like my medication barely ebbed the nerve issues in my body, and I was pretty discouraged. Actually, more than discouraged, I was afraid. Boiling down the fears with this battle leads to the ultimate fear—that my symptoms will get so bad that I won’t be able to work, to hike, to take care of my family…to take care of myself. 

The author of Psalm 16 had some of those same fears, only his went as far as fearing for his very life. The first eight verses of Psalm 16 speak to his confidence in God, his belief that God will protect him, will preserve his life.

While this chapter may be metaphorical, his words in verses 9 – 11 speak of the physical… My body will rest secure...You will not abandon me to the realm of the dead...You make known to me the path of life.

The evidence shows that the author (possibly King David) was in fear of his own life. He wasn’t thinking about dying in the future; he was dealing with an imminent threat.

I find comfort in knowing that in the face of real danger, he could speak with confidence about the Lord’s protection. I also find courage in his words. He doesn’t ask God to take away the danger or cower in the face of the fear. He doesn’t even ask God to help Him. His words are not a question; they are a proclamation, “I will not be shaken.”

In the face of the fears I had as my symptoms flared beyond normal, I had moments more defined by fear and flailing than comfort and courage. I have to believe that the author of these words in Psalm 16 did as well.

We all have moments that fear threatens to overtake. We all face times of weakness and exhaustion when fighting a battle. Yet, we all have the choice to let these moments stay moments, or become something much bigger. 

When I have those moments, this is the verse that comes to my mind more than any other. Why? Because I truly do want to have confidence in God. I truly do want to have confidence in not only His protection, but His presence.

Famous last words? 

I’d like them to be, “I will not be shaken.”

 

Kim Peake

PS I’ll be talking more about overcoming life’s battles at a Coffee Talk this coming Sunday, September 17. Please consider joining us! Register now!

Change of Scenery

I’ve never been one who craves routine but raising four kids requires it. Doing the same thing day in and day out has never been appealing to me, however running a small business often demands it. Fortunately, this summer I have had the opportunity to travel quite a bit. Maybe not “travel” the way some of you are thinking. No European countries were visited. But, I have had the chance to “get out of town” quite a bit. I’ve worked really hard, however I have played even harder. As the summer comes to an end, I realize “change of scenery” is a necessity. 


Our demanding lives require a razor like focus, yet most of us feel distracted. Our schedules and the people around us want more, need more, and expect more than we are capable of giving. These expectations often lead to us to hyper focus on tasks that must be accomplished. That hyper focus demands our attention and we find ourselves so wrapped up in our day to day life that we go through life with blinders on, oblivious to what’s going on around us. 
This is where a “change of scenery” does us some good. Anything that is “away” from our routine. Away from demands and expectations of everyday life. God created a breathtaking world for us to explore, to enjoy, and to soak up! He didn’t create us to wallow in familiarity or to be swallowed up by routine and expectations. 


For some people this change of scenery may be Italy. Go. See. Explore. For others, it may be a two-hour drive north to the mountains. Go. See. Enjoy. Maybe your “change of scenery” is getting outside for a walk. Go. See. Walk. Maybe you need to appreciate everything in life you DO have. Maybe you need to see where God wants to lead you. Maybe you just need to rest.

Wherever it may be, God wants to meet you there. He has something to show you. He has something to tell you. He has an experience he wants you to have away from your routine. God always shows up in least likely places. 


Go. See. Explore. Enjoy. Walk. Rest. Meet with God in your “change of scenery”.

Jodi Diffey

Let His Belief Be

Dear Girl,

His belief in you is rugged enough to pursue you

His love for you immense enough to consume you

His grace towards you is endless enough to cover you

His nail scarred hands far reaching enough to hold you

His watchful eye thorough enough to find you

His heart beats tough enough to revive you

His promises are rooted enough to ground you

His mercy vast enough to free you

Let His belief move you, carry you, still you, shift you, grip you

Let His belief compel you, stir you, empower you, direct you, abide in you

Let His belief override your unbelief, uncertainty, uneasiness, unknowns

Let His belief 

Be

 

Sheri Hogan

Who do I need to be?

In our family, we have rules for our kids when they get cell phones, especially the first couple of years. Plug in the phone to charge in our room at night, limited texting, limited data, etc. When a rule is broken, the phone goes back to me for a period of time, anywhere from a day or two. My goal isn’t punishment; I want to help our kids use a phone safely and responsibly.

But this blog isn’t about cell phone rules.

Our youngest son Jake got his first cell phone this summer, right before he is entering junior high. He is learning the rules and doing a pretty good job. Two weeks go, he broke one of the rules and had forgotten to bring the phone to my room on time. This is an important rule to us because staying up late watching videos on a cell phone or texting is not a healthy habit for a teen. 

But this blog isn’t about cell phone rules.

Normally, I would have kept his phone through the next day as a consequence. Normally, I would have explained that he wasn’t in trouble, but that having the privilege of a cell phone comes with using it wisely. But…I was busy. But…I had my day all planned and Jake having a cell phone was important to me because I wanted to get ahold of him. So…I told him not to forget next time and let it go. 

This blog is about me.

You may be thinking we are too strict, or not strict enough. You may be wondering what the big deal is about letting the rule go one time. You may be right. But, the next day I was really bothered, and couldn’t figure out why. Then, it hit me…hard. I had been thinking about my day and my schedule. I missed a teachable moment and weakened our rules. Instead of thinking about Jake, I thought about me. Later that day, I took some time to ask God to help me be the mom that Jake needs. His needs are different now than they were two years ago, and I want to be there to help him grow into an awesome young man.

This blog is about all of us.

We all have situations and relationships that change, and at times, we need to change as well. In all ways and on all days He will help us be the person we need to be.

-Kim